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Blackberry Cellphones Handhelds

Black Sheep Blackberry Blackballed By Business 349

Posted by timothy
from the die-hards-know-disco-is-not-dead dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Nicole Perlroth writes that the BlackBerry, once proudly carried by the high-powered and the elite, has become a magnet for mockery and derision from those with iPhones and the latest Android phones. as Research in Motion clings to less than 5 percent of the smartphone market — down from a dominating 50 percent just three years ago. One of the first steps Marissa Mayer took as Yahoo's newly appointed chief executive to remake the company's stodgy image was to trade in employees' BlackBerrys for iPhones and Androids and although BlackBerrys may still linger in Washington, Wall Street and the legal profession, in Silicon Valley they are as rare as a necktie. BlackBerry outcasts say that, increasingly, they suffer from shame and public humiliation as they watch their counterparts mingle on social networking apps that are not available to them, take higher-resolution photos, and effortlessly navigate streets — and the Internet — with better GPS and faster browsing."
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Black Sheep Blackberry Blackballed By Business

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  • RIM Fan here (Score:5, Informative)

    by alphax45 (675119) <kyle DOT alfred AT gmail DOT com> on Monday October 22, 2012 @07:16AM (#41727285)
    I use a Blackberry (Bold 9900) by choice. A few reasons:

    - I love the keyboard!
    - Unified inbox; everything is in one spot.
    - Different modes; EG: when I go to bed I have a mode called "bedtime" that only alerts me if something important from someone important comes in.
    - Contact based alerts. So during the day when I'm at work my phone will only "ring" if it's my mom (she has cancer, so lay off) or my wife (only calls if it's important, sends a text otherwise).
    - Canadian company. Home country pride :)

    Yes there is a lack of apps and yes, the Java based OS does sometimes show me the lovely hourglass but for me, it works.

    As for other phones, I have looked but not willing to move at this time. I am very excited for BB10 and hope it will allow RIM to mount some kind of comeback.

    I have never been randomly made fun of for my phone. Sure friends and co-workers will sometimes poke fun; but it's people I know.

    Finally; it's just a phone people - there are bigger things in life to worry about.
  • Re:RIM Fan here (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 22, 2012 @07:22AM (#41727339)

    I have all of those features on my iPhone except for the keyboard which I don't want anyway and it's not Canadian but GO AMERICA! BALD EAGLES! FREEEDOM!

  • by jbolden (176878) on Monday October 22, 2012 @07:24AM (#41727353) Homepage

    Yeah kids never made fun of other kids because of their clothes or bike.

  • Re:So fucking what? (Score:4, Informative)

    by MagusSlurpy (592575) on Monday October 22, 2012 @07:30AM (#41727395) Homepage

    Whether or not the software is better, until an iPhone comes with a hardware keyboard, nuts to them!

  • Re:So fucking what? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Sarten-X (1102295) on Monday October 22, 2012 @07:50AM (#41727571) Homepage

    To be fair, they will always have a market. It'll just be an extremely limited market of companies whose people need to be mobile and not using phones, yet still able to send and receive urgent messages. One example I know of offhand is Disney's theme parks, where supervisors carry Blackberry devices only for emergency emails while they're out in public. The supervisors can't waste time playing games, yet they can still call 911 and stay up-to-date on the status of the resort. The Blackberry devices look professional and do exactly what's needed, and nothing more.

  • Re:So fucking what? (Score:5, Informative)

    by LordLimecat (1103839) on Monday October 22, 2012 @08:30AM (#41727885)

    But they dont. Android and iPhone utterly crush the BB in "business email".

    Absolute nonsense. Lets do a comparison. And btw, Im sure ill get called a shill for this, but I post it because Im absolutely furious that I traded my bold 9650 for a Motorola Admiral, which might be the worst business phone ever despite having 2.3.7 android and a full qwerty keyboard.

    Setup
    Blackberry, the IT staff does their magic (basically, just auths a user's email address and generates a code). The user enters their email address, and a one time code. Thats it. Blackberry email is activated. Never have to worry about password changes, or SSL certs. Never have to worry about whether DNS name or email server changes (a refresh of the BES services will fix that immediately).
    ActiveSync: User needs all sorts of stupid info: mail server address, mailbox name (some phones), mail password (a problem for some users who honestly dont know it), whether to use SSL, what parts of the mailbox to sync, retention period, etc. Also, it uses SSL, so if the cert is selfsigned or expired, have fun getting the phone to work. Also, will stop syncing when users password changes. Also, will stop syncing if you ever need to migrate email servers or change DNS name.

    Usage
    Blackberry: Has qwerty shortcuts for basically everything, so basically anything can be done one-handed. Recognizes phone numbers AND extensions in basically any context for rapid dialing. Hardware buttons for answering phone.
    Android: Wants you to use touch for EVERYTHING (even if qwerty keyboard is present), which means 2-handed use. Has basically no keyboard shortcuts (for compose, reply, etc). Has problems with some extensions depending on vendor (my admiral can only recognize extensions with ###-###-####; ### format, which absolutely noone uses). Software buttons for answering phone-- which means input lag can cause you to miss your call (has happened several times to me).

    Security
    Blackberry: Uses per-device AES encryption. Devices support full storage and memory encryption. Only way to compromise a device is to get into that device, or else compromise the BES itself.
    Android: Uses ActiveSync, which means SSL. Simply getting a CA to sign you a bogus cert for mail.targetcompany.com and doing some DNS poisoning is sufficient to perform a MITM on any and all phones for that organization. Bonus points when you go and check out what entities are on the trusted root authority list on all of those androids you deployed.

    There are areas that Blackberry fails, I understand that; but in its core competencies Android is a poor replacement for Blackberry. Its problem is that it has accepted the mantra "touch input good, physical bad", which is great from a consumer media content but terrible from a "lets be productive" standpoint.

  • Re:So fucking what? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Bill_the_Engineer (772575) on Monday October 22, 2012 @09:02AM (#41728169)

    Setup
    ...
    ActiveSync: User needs all sorts of stupid info: mail server address, mailbox name (some phones), mail password (a problem for some users who honestly dont know it), whether to use SSL, what parts of the mailbox to sync, retention period, etc. Also, it uses SSL, so if the cert is selfsigned or expired, have fun getting the phone to work. Also, will stop syncing when users password changes. Also, will stop syncing if you ever need to migrate email servers or change DNS name.

    Sounds like you need to update your OS. I have both Android and iOS mobile devices and they are able to automatically configure themselves with the exchange server. It even tries to find the exchange server based on your email address. Besides this is a one-time configuration issue and not enough to complain about.

    Security
    Blackberry: Uses per-device AES encryption. Devices support full storage and memory encryption. Only way to compromise a device is to get into that device, or else compromise the BES itself. Android: Uses ActiveSync, which means SSL. Simply getting a CA to sign you a bogus cert for mail.targetcompany.com and doing some DNS poisoning is sufficient to perform a MITM on any and all phones for that organization. Bonus points when you go and check out what entities are on the trusted root authority list on all of those androids you deployed.

    Blackberry has its share of exploits. One was demonstrated at Pwn2Own which exploited the browser of a BB Torch 9800. This exploit could be used to install Flexispy. There was also a talk at DefCon 2006 where the BB could be exploited to get access to the internal LAN of the corporation.

    My point being that don't be so smug about the security of your device. There are exploits out there.

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Monday October 22, 2012 @10:01AM (#41728709)

    Some of your information was wrong in regards to Android, but others have corrected you there... a few points though where you are wrong on iPhone:

    1) iOS is easily remotely configured by the enterprise, a user pretty much just needs the password THAT THEY LOG INTO WORK WITH EVERY DAY.

    2) I can type one-handed on an iPhone too, it's not that hard. It also recognizes phone numbers including international formats. There is also ZERO LAG for pressing the software button for answering the phone. You should have bought a faster device I guess.

    3) The iPhone has the same levels of on-device security without your data all having to go through a server in Canada. BES is a 24x7 man in the middle attack that you pay Blackberry for.

  • by lennier (44736) on Monday October 22, 2012 @03:55PM (#41733443) Homepage

    As opposed to BlackBerry, where we know that some governments have access to at least some emails sent to/from blackberries.

    Actually, we don't know that. Are you possibly confusing BIS with BAS? It's a little like the situation with Java vs JavaScript: RIM runs twoBlackberry services, one of which is a hosted email system, Blackberry Internet Service (BIS), on a par with Gmail and Hotmail but accessible by Blackberry devices, which is indeed intercepted by some governments in which it's located. Blackbery Enterprise Service, on the other hand, is a server which is located on your corporation's own LAN and theoretically is not crackable even by RIM, as it uses AES encryption end-to-end. And it's BES that most corporates will be using, not BIS.

    Now I say theoretically because there is an additional wringle: even with a private BES server, all your emails are sent not just over the Internet but through RIM's own Blackberry routing servers, so they do have access to an encrypted copy of everything you send. That means your security really does depend on how well they've implemented AES and that there really truly are no backdoors. And it's close-source software so of course nobody can verify this. If there were backdoors - even just "the NSA runs a huge server farm / quantum computer and brute forces your cipher" - then, yes, your corporate mail would be readable by RIM and whoever they chose to give that data to. They of course swear blind that there are no backdoors in BES. But, then again, that's exactly what they would say if .gov had got to them, wouldn't they? And RIM is the preferred contractor for the US military and White House, which means as a company they've got the potential and a very big incentive to comply with "special" cyberwarfare requests. So I'd tend to assume that everything you send via Blackberry is at least cached in encrypted form in an NSA server. As is everything you send through any US internet interconnect point (remember the wiretaps that were installed about five years back?) But maybe that's just my tinfoil talking.

    But back this side of the rabbit hole, for most people, they're worried about "Blackberry" because they've completely confused BIS with BES, which is pretty silly, and that's solely because the tech press has created this confusion with their usual abysmal standards of reporting.

Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable.

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